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“The Chamber of Parliament Is Not A Shrine” -Hon. Chernor

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By Ragan M. Conteh

The Leader of Opposition in the House of Parliament , Hon Chernor Maju Bah on Monday 27 June 2022 told colleagues Members of Parliament that, the Executive cannot just prepare bills and bring them in Parliament, saying the house cannot pass bill into law without public perusal.

“The Chamber of Parliament is not a shrine. It is a public chamber. “Bills coming to Parliament from the executive should be thoroughly scrutinized by the people, especially political parties.”
APC’s House Leader says Hon. Chernor Maju Bah made this statement during the disclosure of the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) Amendment Act of 2022 at Committee Room 1 in Parliament.

According to Hon. Maju Bah, the PPRC Amendment Act is very important, adding that the essence of the PPRC bill is to regulate political parties, even though the bill has already been in the public domain, it needs a second look by the populace. He said all concerns being raised by various Members of Parliament are legitimate, adding that, as MPs, they are not oblivious when they are doing good things.

He said they are the representatives of the people and that the House should popularize bills so MPs can make informed decisions on behalf of the electorate. The Leader of the Opposition also warned the Attorney General and Minister of Justice to be expedient with laws they are bringing to the house.

In a related development, the Leader of the Opposition has also requested the National Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone and the Office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice to provide a soft copy of the “The Public Elections Act 2022” for public consumption. The Public Elections Act 2022 was extensively debated on Tuesday, June 21, 2022, in the Well of Parliament. Speaking to the media, the leader said as opposition they are firm in their decision that proportional representation is undemocratic and it will not stand the test of time in a modern day democracy.

He said the bill in other aspects is good, but the general public has the right to review it. As MPs, they are not supporting any bill that is not for the public interest. According to Hon Bah, there is no need to introduce the proportional representation system, adding that the government and the nation need strong institutions to manage constituency elections. He cited that America, Ghana, and even neighbouring Liberia are all using constituency elections but no violence erupted during the election process. He said the position of the opposition is that the PR system is not democratic and they will not support it in any way.